Sharnbrook Station Railway Disaster - Bedfordshire, UK
Posted by: Dragontree
N 52° 13.548 W 000° 31.922
30U E 668560 N 5789023
Quick Description: Sharnbrook Station was the site where a horrific railway disaster occurred on 4th February 1909. The railway line is part of the Midland Railway in the area and is a mainline.
Location: Eastern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 10/31/2010 4:01:46 AM
Waymark Code: WMA1C3
On this historic date a goods train was standing at Sharnbrook Station. Another goods train (the 10.05pm Express goods train from Manchester to London) collided at 60mph into the one already standing at the station. It was a head-on collision happening at about 3.51am.
The standing goods train had been shunted from the down goods to the up passenger road and it was here that the collision occurred. It was reported to be a signalling error as all signals were clear when the express goods train entered the station.
The driver and fireman of the express goods train were killed and the guard severely injured. The Bedford train engine-driver was also injured. It took 13 hours to recover the bodies.
The conclusion of the investigation into the incident was that Signalman Robins at Sharnbrook Station Junction was to blame and he admitted responsibility. The main line crossover points had not been pulled over correctly.
The website below takes you to a PDF file detailing the incident with witness reports and particulars of damage. It makes a very interesting read.
Wikipedia describes Sharnbrook Station, today some old buildings still stand and it is part of an industrial estate:
'Sharnbrook railway station was opened in 1857 by the Midland Railway to serve the village of Sharnbrook in Bedfordshire, England. It was on the Midland's extension from Leicester to Bedford and Hitchin.
It was situated near to Sharnbrook Summit. Here, originally there was a 1 in 119 gradient from the south taking the line to 340 feet above sea level. Around 1880, the line was quadrupled, with the new goods tracks taken through Sharnbrook Tunnel. Following this, in 1884, a long curve, the Wymington Deviation allowed the ruling gradient on the slow/goods lines to be reduced to 1 in 200.
It closed in 1960 and the station buildings were subsequently demolished.
The slow/goods lines were singled and put up to passenger standard in 1987. As of 2007 they see one train a day plus occasional engineering diversions, such as on the weekend 6/7 May 2007.'